Earnings on the Horizon

Companies in the S&P 500 Index need this earnings season to be above average once again to avoid their first drop in profit since 2016. S&P 500 earnings per share have exceeded analysts’ end-of-quarter estimates by an average of 3.6 percentage points since 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Gaps of 5.1 points in this year’s first quarter and 4.5 points in the second quarter enabled the S&P 500 to stave off profit declines predicted for both periods. Analysts called for a third-quarter drop of 3.6% as of Friday.